Parameterized search: tracking a defensive specialist

We use specific metrics to find defensive specialists with different market values.


Among all the possibilities offered by data as a filtering method for scouting players, parametric searches, at the choice of the user, is one of the most useful and flexible. The path between the position to be searched and the characteristics to be found is multiple and we only have to add metrics, virtues and needs to be covered to find interesting possibilities before going to the video.

We have set out to find interesting market options, at different levels, for the position of holding midfielder, a specific function within midfielders. To do so, we will have to take into account which metrics are best suited to the functions of the player who is placed in front of the defence and who stands out more for balancing, containing and counteracting.

To do this we will have several specific metrics within a radar made specifically for the search:

  • Breadth: Total number of tackles, dribbles received, interceptions and fouls committed on the sides of the pitch.
  • Tackles/Was Dribbled
  • Tackles attempted
  • Aerial efficiency
  • Successful duels

In addition, we added an age filter (25 years old or younger) and a market value of less than 7 million euros. The following profiles meet the filters remarkably well, which does not imply that they can, in some cases, also be very good in on-ball metrics, being much more than a defensive specialist.

A midfielder who meets all these requirements, except for age, and who can serve as an example of a defensive midfielder and market opportunity is Ellyes Skhiri, who is finishing his contract with Cologne and is one of the most outstanding defensive specialists in the Bundesliga. Although it is true that he is a more mobile midfielder, even as a midfielder who can get into the opposition box, he could be an interesting profile for this very market, with a high percentage of duels won and good numbers in one-on-ones.

Vinicius Souza

Among the midfielders that best fit the search, and who represents a great market opportunity having lost the category with Espanyol is Vinicius Souza, with extraordinary numbers last season in Primera División in Breadth (4th midfielder in LaLiga 22/23), Aerial Efficiency (7th), Tackles/Was Dribbled (8th) or Tackles Attempted. You can see the contrast between his ability to defend and his play on the ball, where he relied on Sergi Darder and other attacking teammates.

Hamza Choudhury

On loan from Leicester this season to Watford, Choudhury is one of the most prominent Championship profiles among the chosen metrics. Particularly effective in the tackle, he is very good in one-on-one duels and appears above average in aerial efficiency. Leicester City’s relegation may open the door to an imminent transfer.

Mirko Topic

Much more than a defensive specialist, Mirko Topic has already been linked with big clubs and his performances demonstrate his dominance in the Serbian league. Within the search, in addition to his great ball handling, Topic does not neglect his duties as a defensive midfielder, being effective in all measured parameters. He is a more complete profile, and therefore more sought after by foreign clubs. His youth and quality on the ball make him a very interesting player. 1.5 million market value.

Founded in 2017 as a consultancy, Driblab has driven innovation through data in all aspects of professional football. Thanks to a transversal model, its database collects and models statistics in all directions. From converting matches and videos into bespoke data for training academies to developing cutting-edge technology, helping clubs, federations and representative agencies in talent scouting and transfer markets. Driblab’s smart data is used by clubs all over the world, with success stories such as Dinamo Zagreb, Real Betis and Girondins Bordeaux among others. Here you can find out more about how we work and what we offer.

Autor: Alejandro Arroyo
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Información corporativa

Somos una empresa con sede en Madrid fundada en 2017 por Salvador Carmona y Cristian Coré Ramiro. Desde nuestros inicios nuestro trabajo se ha centrado en el análisis estadístico de datos para ayudar a los clubes en la planificación deportiva. Somos una consultora big data que ofrece servicios personalizados para cada cliente y defiende un modelo de gestión mixto y una comunicación constante para acompañar el día a día de las instituciones. Nuestro punto fuerte es la más amplia cobertura disponible en número de torneos profesionales y juveniles. Para más detalles, póngase en contacto con nosotros.

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